Schools and childhood roundup

  • “It also highlights the shortcomings of federal education [privacy] laws that protect even admitted killers like [the Parkland, Florida school gunman] who are no longer students.” [Brittany Wallman, Megan O’Matz and Paula McMahon, South Florida Sun Sentinel]
  • Germany forbids homeschooling and the European Court of Human Rights has just upheld the removal of four children from their parents’ home over the issue [BBC] Is there a constitutional right to homeschool in the U.S.? [Eugene Volokh]
  • By contrast, claims of a federal constitutional right to education tend to amount to a contemplated way for courts to order spending hikes for public schools, as many already do under state constitutions, a bandwagon the U.S. Supreme Court declined to join in San Antonio v. Rodriguez [Alia Wong, The Atlantic on Rhode Island suit]
  • Read and marvel at a waiver and indemnity form for letting an 8 year old walk home a block by herself [Let Grow] “Nine-Year-Old Boy Leads The Way As Colorado Town Legalizes Snowball Fights” [Bill Galluccio, iHeartRadio]
  • Texas school district settles case of student expelled for not standing during Pledge of Allegiance [Massarah Mikati and Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle via Sarah McLaughlin and Popehat (“Alternative headline: Expensive, Uncertain, Stressful Federal Lawsuit Required To Force Texas School To Acknowledge Right Unequivocally Established By Supreme Court In 1943; Taxpayers To Pay Costs Of Lawsuit; Lawless Administrator Will Face No Consequences”)]
  • Latest leave-kid-in-car-for-a-few-minutes horror: mom arrested, charged with contributing to delinquency of minor (to whom nothing had happened) [Lenore Skenazy]
  • “The Trump administration got it right on school-discipline policy” [Hans Bader letter, Washington Post]


  • “Germany forbids homeschooling …”
    Is it really that Germany forbids home schooling, or is it more precisely stated that student age germans must attend a state sponsored school, and that any schooling received at home outside of school hours is perfectly acceptable.

    The home schooling movement has used language to subtly redirect. Parents are fine to school their kids at home in all circumstance. The only quibble ‘homeschooling’ families have is whether the state schools or acceptable substitute (private, charter, parochial, etc. meeting the state’s educational minimums) also has an opportunity to educate.

  • So Gasman, are you suggesting that the definition of homeschooling, one that has been around at least for my lifetime (50+ years) is wrong?

    “The home schooling movement has used language to subtly redirect.”

    No, the homeschooling movement has always been quite forthright, that parents are the ultimate arbiters of how their children should be educated, and that the ability of a parent to choose an alternate educational path is a right.

  • It delights me to no end to see conservatives defending homeschooling, as the movement is in no way conservative. It is more anarchist than anything. It is also a bit humorous to hear that “the ability of a parent to choose an alternate educational path is a right.” This is truly a liberal position. What other “rights” are there and from whence do they come? Is the choice of an abortion a “right”? For many (on all sides of the spectrum), this is an example of situational political beliefs.

    • Conservatism is really a fragmented thing–some conservatives have statist impulses; some are more libertarian; some are religious and look through policies with that lens; some believe in strong national defense etc. etc.

      There is therefore no one “conservative” view on homeschooling. I don’t think that homeschooling is “anarchist”—it is certainly possible to believe in strong government AND the ability of parents to homeschool if they so choose. I consider myself a conservative on many things, and homeschooling fits comfortably within my worldview without situationalism (now there’s a word), I think that school districts, of course, should make extra-curricular activities available to home-schooled kids (it is, after all, what’s best for them).

      As for a “liberal” position—perhaps I would have agreed 30 years ago–but today’s left seems fundamentially illiberal (at least in the classical sense). Parental rights don’t seem to be high on the agendas of current “liberals”

      Finally, the right to have an abortion certainly could be framed as a “conservative” viewpoint—should the government have the power to restrict it, irrespective of the moral implications? Where it might get confusing is the fact that from a legal standpoint, it cannot be conservative to support courts imposing the Pax Roeana on America.

      • From my perspective:

        Liberals are 100% for public education and skeptical of homeschooling. They believe it is a governmental function and children should be forced to attend. Liberals would do away with parochial education if they could.

        Conservatives are 100% for education. Conservatives would want an educated populace. However, they are skeptical that government should be the sole provider. Conservatives should, however, believe in a core curriculum to make sure that young adults are prepared to be productive members of society. As such, they would be against, for example, the Jewish Orthodox schools in NY that shy away from teaching subjects such as English and math.

        Libertarians would seem to prefer the government stay out of education altogether. I would think they would support having a core curriculum, but be against making it mandatory. Under the libertarian view, society simply has no business dictating how people should be educated.

        I would think that favoring homeschooling is only conservative because conservatives believe that public schools are too liberal. If public schools were deemed sufficiently conservative, conservatives would have no issues bashing liberals who chose to homeschool. In fact, I believe it was conservatives who blasted parochial schools in the end of the 19th century, on the theory that Papists should not be educating the children.

  • I bet Justice Kennedy could find a right to homeschooling if we gave him a chance:

    “Were parents’ intent to demean the revered idea and reality of education, the petitioners’ claims would be of a different order. But that is neither their purpose nor their submission. To the contrary, it is the enduring importance of education that underlies the petitioners’ contentions. This, they say, is their whole point. Far from seeking to devalue education,
    the petitioners seek it for their children because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities…The respondents have not shown a foundation for the conclusion that allowing homeschooling will cause the harmful outcomes they describe. Indeed, with respect to this asserted basis for excluding parents from the right to homeschool, it is appropriate to observe these cases involve only the rights of a consenting family whose homeschooling would pose no risk of harm to themselves or third parties.”

    DeBoer & Rowse v. Michigan, 576 U.S. 101 (2022).